Today I did the little decorating for Christmas that is possible in our small apartment. It looks nice. I still can’t get my mind around having to find gifts for those I love. I’m just not there yet. This is so unlike me. I usually have things done way in advance but then this has not be a normal year for any of us.
I am hoping that we can look toward Christmas as a new beginning. Some vaccines are due to come out soon (we hope) and maybe we will move into the new year with a new vision.
I need to put up with two or three caterpillars if I want to get to know the butterflies.
The Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I love butterflies. They are so beautiful. But caterpillars….they are not ugly but they do love my parsley. They can strip all the plants in nothing flat. So because I love butterflies I let them knowing what good is to come.
This is true of so many things in life. We do have to work our way through the hard places to get to the good ones. Right now it is hard to see the end of this particular journey…both mine and the world’s. I do know that there is an end and there will be butterflies to come. I am just anxious to get there as everyone is. Hopefully it won’t be too long now before we can be with others and hug. We will be able to go to church and eat inside at a restaurant. The day is coming. Hold on to that.
In the last week a dear dear person I knew died. Her life was everything we are called to be. She had a loving family and loved and cared for them every day of her life. She loved God and often wrote wonderful posts about his love and his care for her. She never lost this nearness to God even in the darkest of times.
Her name was Elaine. I first met Elaine as a Parish Nurse and her health journey would have crushed most of us early on. She was determined to live every moment of her life in spite of all the doctors who couldn’t see her going on for long. She not only went on but went on with joy. She traveled, boated, spent time with family and friends. She shared her joy with everyone and each day was one to be explored and lived. She lived! Each and every day she lived!
Now she is gone but never forgotten. Her example will remain with all of those who knew her and spur us on to live fully every moment. She has transitioned to be with the God she loved and who she knew with her whole being loved her. While those of us here are saying goodbye others are welcoming her home. Good journey Elaine.
The Way of the Three Steps:
A Native American Way to Begin the DayStand on Mother Earth. Face any direction you choose.
(Take one step forward, as you look about, up and down:)
O Great, Holy Spirit, I take this step into the day you have given.
I embrace all I see----the season, the wind, the fragrances, the weather.
Let me always accept the day given with a grateful heart.
(Take another step forward.)
O Spirit of Life, I put my arms around myself, all that I am, all that I can be.
I stand here in my own history, with all my mistakes and victories.
I hold all those I will meet today, in my journeying and in my work.
I try to walk gently on this earth.
Let me walk gently through the lives of my work companions and friends.
Though they make way for my passing, may they spring back, neither broken
(Take another step forward.)
O glorious Spirit of Mystery, I put my arms around you.
I do not know what will happen to me today, but I accept it.
Give me a heart of courage and believing, so I may put my trust in you,
and fear nothing.
From the Plains tribes; Native American Recorded by Jose Hobday. Found in the Book "Woman Prayers" by Mary Ford-Grabowsky
I found this beautiful and compelling. I plan to use it. Hope you enjoyed!
I was reading through my Quote Book (yes, I keep my favorite quotes in a journal) and starte thinking about this one.
In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell
What an amazing and true statement. I feel that we are living that right now. How much of what we hear is truth. Instead it is someone’s version of the truth. There is a big difference between those two things. When I was teaching a high school at the church one of the things I stressed was seeking truth…looking at all sides and any information available and making your own decision. Too little of that is done today. Most of what we hear could actually be classified as rumors.
It is important to teach our young people how to make assessments based on many sources before coming to any conclusion. There are too many talking heads and I am sure that there are no statesmen left…only politicians. That comparison can apply to any source from religion to politics to anything else. We must filter our information.
It is funny the things we remember and the things we don’t. A while back I went to a conference about how we remember things. The speaker, from Emory University, has been doing a study on how accurate our memories are. The study is more complex than just that but this is a big part of it.
They got information from people following a major life event right after it happened and then again a year later. It was amazing how different the accounts were. We can also believe that we have a memory of something that we actually didn’t experience. If we have heard about the event often enough we incorporate it as a memory.
On the opposite side we forget so many things. I have had people come up to me and tell me a whole incident where I helped them in some way and not only do I not remember the event but I don’t remember them. Our memory is a very chancy thing. It is not as accurate as we think.
However, there are some memories, that we will never ever forget. Those are the ones that are so important to us. I will never forget my marriage or the birth of my children. There are other memories that bring me joy and comfort. I am glad I have those.
I was in college when the great era of folk songs came about. I have always loved folk songs. I learned them early from a 4th grade teacher who played an autoharp and taught us to sing many of them. I love that they tell a story about the life of the people during whatever era they lived in.
In the late 1950″s and early 60’s they became popular and so many of the ones I had learned were sung by the famous groups of the day. The Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, The Limelighters, Pete Seeger, The Mamas and the Papas…I could go on and on. Many new songs were written about what was going on at the time.
I find it sad that the problems they highlighted in the world are still there. Maybe we should listen to them again and really hear the message.
When I started this journey on Word Press I wanted to stop worrying so much over simple things and stop ruminating. Over the past several years I have learned much from the people I have encountered. I have made major changes in my thinking and my life. These things have helped.
What has not helped is what is happening in our world. It is one thing to obsess over things that will usually never happen and to be concerned over things that are happening. The concern is realistic and can’t be done away with. However, my changes have made me different so that even this current crisis has not been the tipping point to take me back to where I was.
Lessons can be learned and applied to make life, though challenging, less likely to move us back to where we started. We can learn and change and cope better. It is possible. Never give up and think it can’t get better. I can and will if you work at it.
In my youth I envisioned the future as a wonderful place, Peace, flying cars, visiting space. That idea is gone. Have the changes made a better world or one more frightening, more dangerous, more ominous? My memories make it seem that way. When will we ever learn what really matters?
My past is a dream A memory A life of summer days Poodle skirts Bobby socks
We did Hide under desks With fear of A bomb And built Air raid shelters
That did not Dim our hope Our dreams Of a better world Free from fear
Time moved on Electronics, VHS, DVD’s Computers, internet Instant everything A better world?
Strange My memory world Seems happier Less fearful More hopeful
The better world Vision lost More war More sickness More hatred
There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished in us by our vital relation with realities outside and above us.”C.S. Lewis.
Lewis is so right but not just about our spiritual life. Living in unreality is a disaster in every way. It touches us on every level. I impact our physical self. No matter our level of activity it is not the same as it was. Even how and what we eat has been impacted.
Our emotional/psychological life has been impacted. We can’t do the things we used to do. Our social interactions have been curtailed. Whether we are introverts or extroverts this is still a change. I am sure that everyone is feeling this distancing in some way. I used to be an extreme extrovert but in my latter years I am more in the middle. This change has affected me in many ways. I miss the touch of others, the face to face exchange of ideas, the fun of simple conversation. I am lonely.
Our spiritual life has most assuredly been impacted. In some ways mine has expanded in that I spend more quiet time and intense connection with God that I have in quite a while. There are not so many distractions. I miss the camaraderie of our church community in addition to the services themselves.
This time has created a different way of being. One that can either strengthen or break us. We have to maintain perspective. Though maybe months distant there will be a change. The view will be changed making us find a new path into the world as it emerges. We have the ability to blend into the new world around us and adapt and make it better.
Part of my nightly prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book: Night Prayer says:
The night heralds the dawn.Let us look expectantly to a new day,new joys,new possibilities.